Jürgen Melzer is an Austrian tennis player. He reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 8 in April 2011, and a doubles ranking of World No. 6 in September 2010. He is a left-handed tennis player, but is right-handed in everyday life. He has a younger brother, Gerald Melzer, with whom he has played doubles in several tournaments.
In 1999, he won the boys' singles event at Wimbledon. For many years, he was known as one of the best players on the tour not to have progressed past the third round of a Grand Slam event.
He ended this streak by reaching the semi-finals of the French Open in 2010, losing to Rafael Nadal after coming from two sets down to defeat Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
He remains the only person to defeat Djokovic from two sets behind. He has also had success in doubles, winning the men's doubles event at Wimbledon in 2010 and the US Open in 2011 with Philipp Petzschner, as well as the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon in 2011 with his wife, Iveta Benešová.
As a junior, Melzer reached as high as world no. 26 in 1998 (and no. 24 in doubles), and won the Wimbledon boys' singles title in 1999.
In 1998, Melzer started playing in Futures in his country, where he won his first two matches, but lost the next four.
In 1999, he started playing outside of Austria in Futures and Challengers. He competed in his first main-draw match in the 1999 CA-TennisTrophy in Vienna, Austria, where he defeated Lars Burgsmüller, before losing to then world no. 11 Nicolas Kiefer in two sets.
In 2000, Melzer continued playing in Futures and Challengers, but was only able to reach one quarterfinal. He also made his Grand Slam debut at the 2000 Wimbledon, but lost to Australian Mark Philippoussis in four sets.
In 2001, he reach his first Futures final event at Poprad, Slovakia, losing to Juraj Hasko. However, he captured his first title at the Challenger in Mönchengladbach, Germany over local hero Jens Knippschild in three sets. He had his first top-100 and top-20 win over Fabrice Santoro, then world no. 18 in the 2001 CA-TennisTrophy, but lost in the next round to Michel Kratochvil in two tiebreaks.
In 2002, he regularly competed in Challenger events, reaching two finals, but losing in both attempts to Alexander Popp in Heilbronn, Germany and to Luis Horna in Fürth, Germany. He reached his first ATP Tour quarterfinal in the 2002 Internationaler Raiffeisen Grand Prix, defeating Sargis Sargsian and Andrea Gaudenzi in straight sets, before losing to eventual champion Nicolás Lapentti. However, he did better in the 2002 Croatia Open by reaching the semifinals, defeating Vincent Spadea, Agustín Calleri, and Victor Hănescu, before losing to eventual champion Carlos Moyá. He also won his first Grand Slam match at the 2002 US Open over Jack Brasington, before losing to Nicolás Massú in four sets. At the 2002 CA Tennis Trophy, he earned one of the biggest wins of his career by defeating then world no. 2 Tommy Haas to reach the quarterfinals, before losing to Jiří Novák in two sets.
The start of 2003 was not a good one for the Austrian, as he lost three consecutive Tour-level main-draw matches, including his Australian Open debut. He rebounded in April by reaching the semifinals, losing to then world no. 2 Andre Agassi. He also made his French Open debut, but lost to David Ferrer. At Wimbledon, Melzer upset then world no. 15 Fernando González, to earn his first Wimbledon victory, but lost to Jonas Björkman in four sets the following round. Melzer reached his first ATP Tour final at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships without defeating a player in the top 100, but lost to Robby Ginepri in the final. In the 2003 US Open, Melzer reached the second round again, but lost Juan Carlos Ferrero. Before the end of the year, Melzer earned another top-20 victory over Tommy Robredo in the 2003 CA Tennis Trophy.
In 2004, the Austrian reached his first third round of a Grand Slam at the 2004 Australian Open with victories over Tomas Behrend, and Galo Blanco, before losing to Sjeng Schalken. Melzer made his Master Series debut at the 2004 Indian Wells Masters, losing to Victor Hănescu. He then won his first Master Series matches at the 2004 Miami Masters with victories over Ivo Karlović, and then world no. 8 Tim Henman, but lost to Todd Martin in straight sets in the third round. He next reached the quarterfinals of the 2004 Hamburg Masters with victories over Nicolás Massú, Irakli Labadze, and Marat Safin, but lost to former world no. 1 Lleyton Hewitt. Melzer then reached the semifinals of the 2004 Internationaler Raiffeisen Grand Prix, losing to Xavier Malisse in three sets. He then won his first French Open match over Wayne Ferreira, but then lost to Lleyton Hewitt in four sets.
In the 2004 Canada Masters, he reached the quarterfinals, losing to Nicolas Kiefer, with straight-set victories over Andre Agassi and Fernando González. In the 2004 US Open, he reached the third round for the first time, but lost to Michaël Llodra. In his last tournament of the year, he reached the third round of the 2004 Paris Masters, losing to Marat Safinin straight sets.
In 2005, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2005 Next Generation Adelaide International, losing to Juan Ignacio Chela. In the 2005 Australian Open he reached the third round, losing to then world no. 2 Andy Roddick in a tough three-setter. At the 2005 SAP Open, he lost in the semifinals to Cyril Saulnier, but earned his third victory over Andre Agassi en route. He reached his second semifinal of the year at the 2005 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, but lost to Andy Roddick. He reached his second ATP tour final at the 2005 International Raiffeisen Grand Prix, but lost to Nikolay Davydenko in three sets. At the 2005 French Open and 2005 Wimbledon, Melzer reached the third round and lost to Guillermo Coria on both occasions. He then lost six straight main-draw matches in the 2005 Generali Open to Fernando Verdasco, and the 2005 Rogers Cup, 2005 Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, 2005 Pilot Pen Tennis, 2005 US Open, and 2005 Open de Moselle. He then continued his bad run with second-round loses at the 2005 BA-CA Tennis Trophy, the 2005 Mutua Madrileña Masters Madrid, and the 2005 St. Petersburg Open.
In 2006, he continued his bad run with a 1–8 record and a seven-match losing streak in the first three months, with his only win coming in the 2006 Medibank International over Juan Ignacio Chela. He then rebounded in the 2006 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, where he reached his third final without dropping a set, but lost to Mardy Fish. He also reached the semifinals of the 2006 BMW Open, losing to eventual champion Olivier Rochus, and the quarterfinals of the 2006 Hypo Group Tennis International, losing to Jiří Novák. However, he fell in the first rounds of the 2006 French Open and Wimbledon. At the 2006 Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, he reached the semifinals, but was upset by eventual champion Mark Philippoussis. He also reached the quarterfinals of the 2006 Interwetten Austrian Open Kitzbühel and the 2006 Pilot Pen Tennis. He then suffered two losses to Juan Mónaco in the third round of the 2006 Mercedes Cup and the first round of the 2006 Orange Warsaw Open. At the US Open, he lost to Alessio di Mauro, thus not winning a single Grand Slam match in the year. He then reached back-to-back finals at the 2006 BCR Open Romania and the 2006 Open de Moselle. He won his first ATP Tour title at the 2006 BCR Open Romania, defeating Filippo Volandri in straight sets in the final, with victories over Gilles Simon and Paul-Henri Mathieu. In the 2006 Open de Moselle, however, he lost to Novak Djokovic. He ended the year with a quarterfinal showing at the 2006 Bank Austria-TennisTrophy, losing to Andy Roddick, but earned his first win over Juan Carlos Ferrero. He made a first-round exit at the 2006 St. Petersburg Open, losing to Lukáš Dlouhý.
In 2007, Melzer began the year with a first-round exit at the 2007 Qatar ExxonMobil Open and a semifinal exit at the 2007 Medibank International, withdrawing against James Blake. Melzer reached the second rounds of the 2007 Australian Open, the 2007 M.K. Championships, the 2007 Indian Wells Masters, and the 2007 Miami Masters. He also reached the final of the 2007 Tennis Channel Open, losing to Lleyton Hewitt. He also reached the quarterfinals of the 2007 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships and the 2007 BMW Open. In the Masters Series on clay, he lost in the first rounds of the 2007 Monte Carlo Masters and the 2007 Rome Masters, and the third round of the 2007 Hamburg Masters, losing to Fernando González. After that, he suffered back-to-back losses to Juan Mónaco in the 2007 Hypo Group Tennis International and the 2007 French Open. He then suffered a left wrist injury in his first-round loss to Nikolay Davydenko in the 2007 Gerry Weber Open which caused him to miss two months of tennis, including Wimbledon. He came back at the 2007 Cincinnati Masters, reaching the third round and losing to Lleyton Hewitt. From then on, he was unable to secure back-to-back wins.
In 2008, Melzer reached the second round of his first three tournaments, including the 2008 Australian Open. He again failed to secure back-to-back wins, compiling a 3–9 record in his next nine tournaments and putting him out of the top 100 since April 2003. It was not until the 2008 Hypo Group Tennis International that he recorded back-to-back wins by reaching the quarterfinals, losing to Igor Kunitsyn in three sets. He carried his good performance through the 2008 French Open with a third-round exit to Frenchman Gaël Monfils, having led two sets to one. On grass, he was able to reach the quarterfinals of the 2008 Ordina Open and the third round at Wimbledon. He then returned to clay at the 2008 Austrian Open and reached his seventh final, but lost once again to Juan Martín del Potro. Melzer made a good performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by reaching the final eight, losing to eventual Gold Medalist Rafael Nadal. He then had a good performance by reaching the third rounds of the 2008 Pilot Pen Tennis and the 2008 US Open. Melzer made a good year end with quarterfinal results in the 2008 Thailand Open and the 2008 Bank Austria-TennisTrophy, which put him back to the top 40.
In 2009, Melzer again made a poor first quarter of the year, only managing one back-to-back win in his first ten tournaments, and it was at the 2009 Australian Open, where he reached the third round, losing to Andy Murray. It was not until the 2009 Internazionali BNL d'Italia that he recorded back-to-back wins, including a win over Nikolay Davydenko, but lost to Fernando González in the following round. He then reached the quarterfinals of the 2009 Interwetten Austrian Open Kitzbühel and the 2009 Gerry Weber Open once again, and the third round of the 2009 French Open and Wimbledon for the second year in a row. He reach his first semifinal of a year at the 2009 ATP Studena Croatia Open Umag, but lost to eventual champion Nikolay Davydenko. He also reached the quarterfinals of the 2009 Pilot Pen Tennis with a victory over Victor Hănescu, but lost in the following round to Fernando Verdasco. In the semifinal of 2009 PTT Thailand Open Melzer lost to eventual champion Gilles Simon in two sets. At the 2009 Shanghai ATP Masters 1000, Melzer defeated a then-world no. 5 Juan Martín del Potro, before losing to Feliciano López. This was his second victory over a top-5 player. The first was his win over a then-world no. 2 Tommy Haas in 2002. He ended 2009 on a high note by winning his second career title at the 2009 Bank Austria-Tennis Trophy over Marin Čilić in straight sets, which included a victory over Radek Štěpánek in the quarterfinals.
Melzer lost in the first round of the Australian Open at the start of the 2010 season, but then reached the semifinals in Zagreb, losing to defending/eventual champion Marin Čilić. After a quarterfinal appearance in Rotterdam, where he lost to Nikolay Davydenko, Melzer reached the semifinals in Dubai, where he lost to Mikhail Youzhny. Later in the year, Melzer reached the quarterfinals of the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid, losing to Nicolás Almagro. Melzer followed this up with his best result in a Grand Slam to date by reaching the semifinals of the French Open. He beat Dudi Sela and Nicolas Mahut before he caused a significant upset by defeating ninth seed David Ferrer in straight sets, followed by a four-set win over Teymuraz Gabashvili (who had beaten Andy Roddick in the previous round), and by a five set triumph over Novak Djokovic, coming back from a two-set deficit for the first time in his career. He was eventually defeated by four-time champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
Melzer followed this up by reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon, where he was defeated by Roger Federer in their first career meeting. However, at the same tournament, he achieved his greatest success by winning the doubles title with German partner Philipp Petzschner.
After playing a few clay-court tournaments, reaching the final in one, and having good results in the others, Melzer moved on to the hard-court season, losing to Peter Polansky in the first round of Montreal and Ernests Gulbis in the second round of Cincinnati. He then played the US Open, where he reached the fourth round for the third consecutive Grand Slam tournament, having never been past the third round prior to the French Open. He played Roger Federer for a spot in the quarterfinals, having also played him in the fourth round of Wimbledon. Federer once again defeated him in straight sets.
At the Shanghai Masters in October, Melzer recorded one of the biggest wins of his career against world no. 1 Rafael Nadal. This was Melzer's first victory against Nadal and the first time he had beaten a reigning no. 1. He then lost to Argentina's Juan Mónaco in the quarterfinals.
In the last week of October, he won his third career title, defending his 2009 victory at the Vienna Open against his compatriot Andreas Haider-Maurer in a thrilling final; coming back from a set and a break down at 4–5 down (Haider-Maurer serving at 15–0) and three points away from defeat, to put up a heroic comeback and clinch the three set epic victory.
On 3 November, he was named Austrian Sportsman of the Year.
Melzer's final tournament of the year as a singles player was the Paris Masters, where he advanced to the quarterfinals, before losing to world no. 2 Roger Federer.
As a result of winning the Wimbledon doubles championship, Melzer and his doubles partner Philipp Petzschner qualified for a doubles team spot in the ATP World Tour Finals, but his bid to qualify as a singles player ended when Andy Roddick defeated Ernests Gulbis in the third round of the Paris Masters, giving Roddick an insurmountable lead in qualifying points for the last individual spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.
Melzer started the 2011 season at the Australian Open. He reached the third round without dropping a set, before defeating 21st seed Marcos Baghdatis in the third round after Baghdatis retired with Melzer leading. He was defeated by Andy Murray in the fourth round. Despite the loss, Melzer cracked the top 10 for the first time in his career.
Since then, Melzer failed to chalk up any back-to-back wins until appearing at the 2011 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Seeded ninth, he finally won consecutive matches as he beat Robin Haase, and Nicolás Almagro, to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in this tournament. There, he pulled off a surprise two-set win over no. 3 ranked and second seed Roger Federer to reach the semifinal stage for the first time in an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. However, he failed to reach his first final in such a tournament after losing against David Ferrer.
In the 2011 US Open men's doubles final, he arguably had his greatest success of the year when he and his doubles partner Philipp Petzschner won a controversial decision over the Polish team of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski to claim the trophy. During a net exchange, a ball ricocheted off Petzschner's left shin, though he denied it. Instant replay of the telecast clearly confirmed the illegal return. Jurgen/Petzschner broke through in that game and won the match in straight sets, splitting a $420,000 purse.
In singles, Melzer had an inauspicious start to the 2012 year, exiting in the first round in Brisbane and the Australian Open. He did make the final in Brisbane in doubles, partnering Philipp Petzschner, and he won the tournament in Memphis against Canadian Milos Raonic.
In Monte Carlo, he made the quarterfinals in doubles, partnering Florian Mayer. After that, he had a series of quick exits in singles: the first round at the French Open, the second at Wimbledon, and the first at the US Open. However, he made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon in doubles.
He partnered with Leander Paes in Canada and made it to the semifinals, losing to the Bryan brothers.
The fall went somewhat better in singles, with a quarterfinal showing in Shanghai and a semifinal in Valencia. He also made quarterfinal showings in Beijing and Shanghai and a semifinal in Vienna, with various partners. However, the Paris Masters was back to a first-round exit in singles against Grigor Dimitrov and a first-match defeat in doubles.
In 2013, Melzer made the quarterfinals in Brisbane, where he was eliminated by Grigor Dimitrov. At the Australian Open, he was defeated in the third round in straight sets by Tomáš Berdych.
He made the final in Zagreb, only to lose to Marin Čilić in straight sets. He went out in the first round at Indian Wells, but made it to the quarterfinals in Miami, losing to David Ferrer in three sets. He was eliminated in the third round at Monte Carlo by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
He made a quick first-round exit at the French Open, but made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon, losing to young rising player Jerzy Janowicz.
At Wimbledon, he made it to the quarterfinals in doubles.
His only singles tournament victory was in Winston-Salem, where he defeated Gaël Monfils, when the Frenchman had to retire in the second set. After that, Melzer was defeated in the first round of the US Open in straight sets by Evgeny Donskoy. He made it to the semifinals in Kuala Lumpur, losing to Portuguese João Sousa in three tight sets.
In 2014, Melzer pulled out of the Australian Open with a shoulder injury. At the ATP 500 Barcelona, he reached third round after defeating Jerzy Janowicz, but lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber. At the Rome Masters he defeated John Isner and Marin Čilić to reach third round, where he lost to Andy Murray. The Austrian won over David Goffin at Roland Garros to reach second round, where he fell to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. At s-Hertogenbosch, he defeated Fernando Verdasco in quarter-finals and lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in semifinals. Melzer defeated Guillermo García-López on first round of the Paris Masters and lost again to Tsonga in second round.
Melzer failed to qualify for Wimbledon in 2015. Notably, he faced his younger brother Gerald in the first round qualifying and won in straight sets. Jürgen described it as the "worst tennis day of my life and I hope we will never play each other again."
In July of 2016, Melzer upset world No. 9 Dominic Thiem at the Austrian Open after a long injury absence. This was his first victory over a top-10 player in over five years. In the next round, the quarterfinal, he lost to his brother Gerald.
In 2017, Melzer qualified for the Australian Open, but lost to the later champion Roger Federer in the first round.
In 2018, Melzer announced his retirement from the ATP Tour in singles, with the Vienna Open marking his final appearance. Ranked at world No. 426, he upset No. 22 Milos Raonic in the first round. This victory was his 350th and final career win, because he withdrew from the second round due to illness.
In 2019, Melzer won the doubles title at the Sofia Open, partnering Nikola Mektić.
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